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Chris Eagle appointed chief at Alberta Health Services

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services has appointed Dr. Chris Eagle (pictured) as its new president and CEO. Dr. Eagle, who has been acting CEO since Dr. Stephen Duckett was dismissed last November, will serve a five-year term in which he has committed to improving healthcare in a number of areas.

Stephen Duckett’s contract was ended after his controversial actions following a brainstorming session that brought doctors and administrators together to figure out how to improve long wait times in hospital emergency departments. At the time, Duckett refused to speak with media, saying he was too busy eating a cookie.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Eagle on his appointment and the AHS Board for choosing an outstanding candidate,” said Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky in a press release.

“Since being appointed as Acting President and CEO on November 24th, Dr. Eagle has shown himself to be a strong and capable leader. His thoughtful, engaging and responsive style will serve AHS and Albertans very well as we continue to build the best-performing publicly funded healthcare system in Canada.”

Dr. Eagle has worked for the healthcare industry in Alberta for the past 34 years. Formally President and Chief Operating Officer in the Calgary Health Region, he was also a professor at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta as well as holds an adjunct appointment at the University of Victoria. In university, he specialized in cardiac anaesthesiology.

During an AHS board meeting on Thursday, Dr. Eagle announced $190-million in new funding for four new health initiatives to improve performance in emergency rooms, cancer care access, continuing care and more timely access to a range of surgical procedures including cataract, hip and knee replacements and cardiac surgery.

To do so, doctors and health-care staff will be consulted more than ever before, said the new president. Lack of consultation has been a concern in the past. In an Alberta Health Services’ survey released in April 2010, only 18 per cent of physicians and 41 per cent of nurses, technicians and other employees at Alberta’s health superboard say they were proud to work for Alberta Health Services.

Only 29 per cent of employees and 19 per cent of physicians said they were optimistic about the future of Alberta Health Services. Another 44 per cent of employees and 55 per cent of physicians expressed pessimism. The benchmark goal is to have 76 per cent expressing optimism.

Posted April 21, 2011